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Recycling in spotlight

Thursday, 4th April, 2013

By Erica Visser

The NSW Government is to consider allowing residents to recycle bottles and cans at vending machines in shopping centre carparks in exchange for vouchers.

The government will discuss plans for a container deposit scheme (CDS) this month after a statewide petition and a call to establish a national one.

South Australia has had a scheme for the past 36 years which offers a 10 cent refund on containers.

Broken Hill residents were part of the SA scheme until 2007 and are now only able to be refunded for soft drink containers.

The new CDS model was developed by the Boomerang Alliance, made up of environmental groups and it differs considerably from the SA model.

City Council's Manager of Sustainability, Peter Oldsen, said that it was too early for council to decide whether to support it.

He said that the main difference between SA's CDS and the proposed one was the source of funding.

The proposed model would be run by an independent co-ordinator rather than the beverage industry, as in SA and the Northern Territory.

"Council would need to have the full details to make a decision," Mr Oldsen said.

"We're certainly aware of the Boomerang Alliance and have supported it in the past.

"This is an alternative that should be considered, but whether that's the ultimate system is unknown.

"This council has supported a container deposit legislation almost tirelessly over 10 or more years."

Council has its own long-term waste strategy which includes the introduction of kerbside recycling.

Mr Oldsen previously said that there was strong community support for residential recycling bins.

But he said that there were "mixed reports" on how such an initiative would mesh with a CDS.

Mr Oldsen said that kerbside recycling was scheduled to be implemented in three to four years.

"There are other factors which would come into play at the end of the day," he said.

"There'd be a whole range of studies ultimately deciding whether the recycling would be done locally or collected."

Mr Oldsen said that a new NSW Government waste minimisation program may allow council to seek out funding.

Mr Oldsen said that council disposes around 18,000 tonnes of waste into landfill per year.

"Up to half of that could potentially be recycled," he said.

"We've done a waste audit and out of general waste, 50 to 60 per cent is potentially recyclable."

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